Choosing new research
How does MRF decide which new research to fund? There are several thousand researchers around the world who publish research relating to meningitis each year. So how do we choose the projects in our current programme?
In general MRF funds research through ‘response mode funding’, where researchers approach us with applications for research and only proposals of the highest quality and most relevance to our charitable objectives are funded.
Occasionally we’ve done the opposite of this and approached researchers themselves, resulting in more ‘commissioned’ research such as the MRF Meningococcus Genome Library. However, it’s important that this is still a competitive process with various different research groups being assessed and the best of these chosen to conduct the work.
Assessment of research happens through our Scientific Advisory Panel – a group of scientists and doctors with long standing research expertise in meningitis and septicaemia.
It takes around 9 months to complete the funding application process, from sending out a call for proposals, to announcing new projects being funded. In 2014-15 it started in July 2014:
July 2014: Email and publicity sent out to all research contacts announcing the new round and asking for outline proposals for research (3 page document)
Sept 2014: Deadline for preliminary proposals
Oct 2014: Proposals are assessed by MRF’s Scientific Advisory Panel and around one third are invited to submit a full application
Dec 2014: Deadline for full applications
Dec- Feb 2015: Applications are assessed by external peer reviewers – experts in a particular method or area that can provide specific feedback
Feb 2015: MRF’s Scientific Advisory Panel meet: using the external peer review reports, they recommend the top applications to MRF’s Trustees
March 2015: MRF Trustees give final approval for new research funding
All funding is based on the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) principles of peer review: Accountability, Balance, Independent decision making, Rotation of scientific advisers and Impartiality.
Peer review is a way of assessing the quality of scientific ideas by subjecting them to independent scrutiny by qualified experts (peers) and is used by many research funders, both big and small. It is mandatory for our membership of the AMRC and we are assessed for our adherence to the above principles every 5 years.
All our Scientific Advisory Panel members are voluntary and give up their time and expertise for free along with external peer reviewers. We are continually grateful to them, as their help enables us to fund only the most important and high quality research around.
Once new projects are announced, our members, supporters and the general public get involved by running, baking and donating in order to keep these research projects going. Our next new batch of research projects will be announced in April 2015, so watch this space. – See more at: http://www.meningitis.org/news-media/choosing-new-research-95306#sthash.9gqzXwpc.dpuf